Widespread use of artificial habitats by shorebirds in Australia

Micha V. Jackson, Bradley K. Woodworth, Robert Bush, Robert S. Clemens, Richard A. Fuller, Stephen T. Garnett, Amanda Lilleyman, Martine Maron, Chris Purnell, Danny I. Rogers, Tatsuya Amano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway have experienced population declines linked to loss of coastal wetlands. Despite this vulnerability to habitat loss, shorebirds regularly use artificial habitats, especially for high-tide roosting. Understanding the distribution of shorebirds in artificial versus natural roosts could inform habitat management strategies aimed at population recovery. We analysed time-series of high-tide shorebird monitoring data from five developed regions of Australia where artificial habitat use has previously been documented and made three key discoveries. First, artificial habitat use was generally high across the regions, with >50% of the average proportion of the regional population of 39 of 75 species-region combinations (52%) using artificial habitats at high tide. Second, in 84% of species-region combinations the average proportion of birds that used artificial habitats from the time of their establishment onward did not show a significant temporal trend. Third, migratory and coastal specialist species showed lower proportional artificial habitat use than non-migratory and generalist/inland specialist species. These findings showing consistent, widespread use of artificial habitats by large shorebird aggregations at high tide suggest that a framework for high-tide habitat management that includes artificial habitats alongside preservation of remaining natural habitats could make a significant contribution to shorebird conservation in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalEmu
Early online date8 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Feb 2021

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Widespread use of artificial habitats by shorebirds in Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this